Admissions Practice Survives Antitrust Challenge

Yale Medical School, Yale School of Medicine, Admissions and Antitrust Law
The Yale School of Medicine has survived a federal antitrust challenge.

The Yale School of Medicine is not in violation of federal antitrust laws, a federal judge has ruled. The judge recently rejected a lawsuit brought by a student denied admission to the Yale School of Medicine against the university. In the suit, the student claimed he was denied admission — despite his ‘outstanding academic record’ — because he was a ‘white Republican.’ But, in our view, that whole hackneyed argument wasn’t the interesting part of the applicant’s claim. Rather, it was the applicant’s gripe that medical schools unfairly share information about applicants — because of the implication that this would violate federal antitrust laws.

Universities Can Share Certain Information

As Scott Jaschik reports for “Inside Higher Ed” in a piece entitled “Admissions Tool Survives Antitrust Challenge,” “The alleged conspiracy concerns the use by the medical schools of an AAMC system, called the Multiple Acceptance Report (MAR), that tells medical schools which applicants have been admitted to other medical schools. The issue of sharing information about applicants has been a controversial one — and has in the past landed some colleges in legal difficulty. For years, some elite colleges — members of what was then called the Overlap Group — shared financial information on admitted applicants, seeking to agree on common aid offers. But in 1991, Ivy League institutions agreed to stop sharing such information. The agreement followed a Justice Department investigation into the practice, which the universities said promoted fairness but the department said was an antitrust violation.”

Universities Shouldn’t Share Other Information

We announced back in April that the United States Department of Justice was investigating whether Amherst College, Grinnell College, Middlebury College, Pomona College, Wellesley College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College were sharing information about Early Decision applicants in possible violation of federal antitrust laws. While we take no issue with colleges sharing lists of Early Decision admits — since Early Decision admits are bound to attend the admitting institutions — we do take issue with any school that shares other information. This could include lists of deferred or denied students. However, it’s important to note that not one of the aforementioned schools has been caught sharing such information.

You see, we are not shy about calling out potential federal antitrust violations in college admissions (hi, Common Application!). But let’s only call out potential violations when they’re legitimate ones. We take no issue with the Yale School of Medicine sharing a list of admitted applicants to other medical schools — so long as they’re not sharing other information un unbeknownst to applicants.

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